Sudan's Complicity In The Ivory Trade

national geographic on poaching and sudan

Posted by OBS Team on August 12th, 2015

A new report by National Geographic examines the complicity of the Sudanese government within a poaching network that is destroying Africa's elephant populaitons and financing killing across a swath of countries.

Here's a short section from the report: 

As Somalia is to piracy, Sudan has become to elephant poaching. In 2012 as many as a hundred Sudanese and Chadian poachers on horseback rode across central Africa into Cameroon’s Bouba Ndjidah National Park. They set up camp and in a four-month rampage killed up to 650 elephants. According to Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Francophone Africa director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, who led a group into the park after the slaughter, the poachers were most likely from Darfur’s Rizeigat tribal group, with ties to the janjaweed—the violent, Sudanese-government-backed militias that have committed atrocities in Darfur. Sudanese and Chadian poachers were likewise implicated in the 2013 butchering of nearly 90 elephants—including 33 pregnant females as well as newborn calves—near Tikem, Chad, not far from Bouba Ndjidah.

That members of the Sudanese military trade arms for ivory with the LRA raises questions about the highest levels of Sudan’s government. In 2009 Bashir became the world’s first sitting head of state indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity. In presenting that case, ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo underscored Bashir’s control of the groups said to be behind Sudan’s ivory trafficking: “He used the army, he enrolled the Militia/Janjaweed. They all report to him, they all obey him. His control is absolute.”

Michael Onen, the defector from Kony’s army, told me that the LRA and the janjaweed had battled over ivory, with one group robbing the other, and that it was the janjaweed’s success in trading ivory that originally gave Kony the idea to start killing elephants. The LRA sells to the Sudan Armed Forces, Onen said.



Tags: poaching, Sudan, elephants

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